Written by 5:27 am Reference Speakers

Setting Up Two Systems In One Day

Steven Stone does double audiophile duty…


AR-sysufys2.jpgI hadn’t planned on redoing two of my three audio systems on a single day, but sometimes that is how things work out. My original plan had been to tear apart and redo ONE system, but that old chestnut – “Situations Beyond Our Control” reared its head.

My schedule had been to box up and replace the speakers I had just finished reviewing in my mid-size room system. These speakers, which will remain nameless pending the review’s publication, were mid-size floor-standing speakers that required a bit of extra TLC for re-boxing. The care involved wrapping them in saran wrap to protect their finish. No problem here, except for the dizziness that accompanies walking around a speaker fifteen times holding a roll of saran wrap. But after about ½ hour and some assistance from my wife, the speakers were all packed and ready for Fed-Ex pick-up.

AR-genesissys.jpgThe next part of the plan was to put the Genesis 6.1 and 6.1C speakers back into the system. This involved getting them out of the closet where they’d been stored for the past seven months. The reason I hadn’t used them in seven months was simple – I don’t leave the Genesis set up during the summer because lightning and brown outs could (and have in the past) taken out their built-in servo amplifiers. So, they get a summer vacation. Instead during summer months my Skiing-Ninja-modified pair of x-Static and x-Voce center channel speakers gets the nod. But this fall I did a couple of reviews that kept the Genesis 6.1’s in their closet far longer than usual, and it wasn’t until early 2014 that I had an opportunity to put them back up.

Setting up the Genesis 6.1 and 6.1 C isn’t merely a matter of sliding speakers around. Of course they need to be physically positioned optimally, but due to their tweeter, midrange, and bass level controls, a lot of fine-tuning for overall harmonic balance is also involved. After several hours of running test tone sweeps alternating with reference tracks I got the Genesis to the point where I remembered why I liked them so much. After that I thought that my time moving and adjusting gear was done for the day.

After I was happy with the sound in my mid-size room system I went downstairs to my office where I began to do some work on my computer, accompanied of course by music from my computer desktop system. After a minute or so I noticed that the Velodyne DD+10 subwoofer was silent. I checked the connections and volume levels and noticed that it was no longer responding to its front panel controls. I unplugged the subwoofer, waited a minute or so and plugged it in again. Sometimes, just like with computers, a restart can “clear” an audio component’s problem. Unfortunately, in the case of the DD+10, no amount of turning on and off or plugging and unplugging would restore it to normal operational condition. It was dead.

]]>AR-velodd10.jpgPulling out and replacing a subwoofer usually isn’t that tough. There is the issue of a subwoofer’s weight and bulk. And in the case of my computer rig, the subwoofer was under my desk, with a Brightstar audio airbase on top of it. To further complicate matters, on top of the Brightstar base rests the power amplifier or amplifiers for the system. So, removing the Velodyne subwoofer required disconnecting the system’s power amplifier and removing the airbase before I could even begin to disconnect the subwoofer.

Once components were disconnected and removed I slid the Velodyne sub out from under my desk and replaced it with what? A look through my equipment closets revealed only one candidate – an M&K MX-700 subwoofer that I’ve had since the late 1990’s. Before sliding the M&K into position I removed the four SVS Soundpath isolation footers I had installed on the Velodyne sub and put them onto the M&K. These isolators proved to be even more effective than closed cell foam under subwoofers to isolate them from the floor. It was also convenient that the screw threads for the M&K and Velodyne were the same as those on the SVS Soundpath Isolation footers, so the switchover took about a minute per footer with no additional hole drilling needed.

AR-M&Ksub.jpgAfter the subwoofer was in position and all the cables and other components reattached, I spent another hour running test tones to get the crossover and levels between the subwoofer and the ATC SCM-7 mark 3 speakers correct.

By mid-afternoon both systems were set up and sounding pretty darned good. The last task on my list is boxing up that 75 lb. Velodyne subwoofer to return it for (hopefully) warranty repair. I think that will have to wait till tomorrow…

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